Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) Poster

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The spiders are the second most annoying thing in this film.
MartinHafer12 November 2009
I watched this film on DVD because I enjoy seeing William Shatner's films. Other than his Star Trek films, Shatner's career in movies is bizarre--with some fine performances (such as in INCUBUS and THE TENTH LEVEL) and some over-the-top awful performances as well (such as in WHITE COMANCHE and my favorite of his bad films, IMPULSE). I like to watch and see just what sort of Shatner I'll see--for good or for bad. Well, despite the cheesy title and theme of KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS, this isn't a bad performance for the Shat. This is NOT saying that it's a particularly good film--but his performance and character were not the reason the film didn't win an Oscar!! While Shatner's acting is just fine, it is odd, however, to see him wearing a cowboy hat and living in a town surrounded by desert scrub! He just doesn't seem like the sort of fella to be living in Arizona.

The most annoying things about the film are not the spiders but a character named Diane Ashley. She is like a walking cliché but a very, very inconsistent and stupid cliché. Like so many of the heroines of the 70s and 80s, this one is full of spunk...and I hate spunk (to quote Lou Grant). She is smart, tough, cool and incredibly nasty towards men---and living up to the stupid stereotype that any woman who is successful MUST be a complete and total....well, you know what I'm trying to say but can't say here on IMDb! This is a very annoying character and what makes her worse is that after spending so much time being just plain nasty towards Shatner, she all of the sudden falls completely under his spell! In other words, one minute she's like ice and the next she's practically massaging his tonsils with her tongue!! This must have set feminism back at least a decade and made me laugh since she was nothing but a string of clichés all pieced together to make up her character.

As for the film itself, the story is about a whole lotta nasty tarantulas that somehow become bloodthirsty killers--which is weird, since tarantulas are basically big but harmless. Shatner is a vet who investigates the deaths of some livestock due to the spiders and Tiffany Bolling plays Ashley--an entomologist with a split personality! Somehow the spiders have begun to swarm (tarantulas are NOT sociable in real life and are loners) and their natural venom is now five times stronger than normal--making them even more dangerous than bunnies (NIGHT OF THE LEPUS) or ants (EMPIRE OF THE ANTS) or frogs (FROGS!)!!

While this isn't a completely terrible film, because it is a bit silly and there are countless similar films (many more than are listed above), it's quite unnecessary for anyone other than devoted Shatner fans to watch the film. It's not quite campy enough to recommend it nor is it interesting enough to set it apart from the crowd. However, you might laugh at a few of the scenes, such as the crop duster incident as well as the scene where the lady shoots the spider off her hand! My favorite, though was the entire last 15 minutes of the film, where it all became a giant insane free-for-all--like the end of ANIMAL HOUSE. No one even thought to just get in their cars and leave town, but chose instead to run about screaming as the smart spiders killed them off one-by-one. Overall, a silly trifle that obviously didn't seriously harm Shatner's career...though you never have heard about Tiffany Bolling since this film, have you?!

By the way, an awful lot of tarantulas are stomped on and smooshed in the movie. That seems pretty sad and a waste. Where is the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Arachnids when you need them?!
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Arise ye spiders
bkoganbing21 May 2017
Poor William Shatner, how he must have longed for the deck of the Enterprise instead of the hot desert on earth surrounded by a few thousand tarantulas. Shatner is a veterinarian who has discovered that one of Woody Strode's calves was killed and the lab results which entomologist Tiffany Bolling brings in shows it was an incredible amount of spider venom.

In van she's one of the scientist who has warned against the overuse of DDT which has killed the spider's natural food supply. Now the spiders have developed new feeding habits and they've gotten organized against humankind.

The human players look like they would rather be anywhere than in this Thanksgiving special of a movie. Especially Shatner whom he fired his agent after this would have been justified.

I will say this though, the ending was quite bizarre, almost but not quite made up for the rest of this film.

Unless you love arachnids, pass it up.
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A treat for man-against-nature lovers
Leofwine_draca13 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This above-average "nature's rampage" horror flick beats Spielberg's ARACHNOPHOBIA in terms of hands-down scares - because here, the majority of the spiders are REAL ones instead of unconvincing fakes and special effects. Yep, somebody "borrowed" about 5000 tarantulas to make this movie and the effect is one of the most realistic man vs. beast movies out there. KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS is all you could hope for in a B-movie starring everyone's favourite thesp, William Shatner, and a cast of B-movie hopefuls.

The plot concerns spiders which have to turn to larger food suppliers after farmers using DDT destroy most of their natural insect food. It has NOTHING to do with alien spiders, as the UK box cover bizarrely suggests. Although the film's structure adheres to the old strict template (minor deaths and mysteries followed up by a full-scale invasion), cult director John "Bud" Cardos (who also gave us THE DARK and MUTANT) takes time out for us to get to know - and care for - the principal characters involved in the antics. William Shatner takes the leading hero's role of a cowboy veterinarian (!) and his acting is pretty subdued here - at least, until the finale in which he is attacked by spiders and goes into a fit of over-acting or a scene where he skips down a road covered with the creepy-crawlies! Tiffany Bolling is the hard-headed female scientist who comes to investigate the mysterious deaths of cows (shown at the beginning in good, eerie scenes) and whose heart is soon melted by Shatner's charms. The only other actor of note is Woody Strode, who here puts in a touching show as a farmer who fears that his farm is going to get quarantined. The rest is your typical B-movie bunch, and fans will be glad to hear that there's a high death toll with literally dozens of folk falling victim to the invading arachnids.

Although, as with most "nature's rampage" horror flicks from the past twenty years, there's a certain suspension of disbelief required to enjoy the on screen action, KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS offers us some truly great shocks and scares to rouse us from the inaction of the first half. There's a great shot of a spider-covered bull jumping suddenly at the camera, which is guaranteed to put anybody on the edge of the seat, and a frightening moment in which a pilot is attacked by spiders and crashes his plane into a building which explodes. However, the best part of the film is the last twenty minutes, the full-scale invasion which owes more than a nod to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD as the survivors board themselves up inside a roadside café and sit it out.

There are many scenes of people being surrounded by/covered in spiders which work because these are real, moving spiders, not lousy special effects. The film briefly moves to the town where there's some large-scale chaos with cocooned bodies all over and people crashing their cars into water-towers which then collapses and kills yet more folk. Shatner himself has a suspenseful scene in the basement where he goes to fix a fuse and finds himself covered in the creepy crawlies and struggles for survival. This is classic stuff and a cut above the usual less-than-impressive invasion sequences in similar movies. The film ends with an ambiguous (sadly unconvincing) matte shot showing the entire town has been cocooned in a spider's web, and manages to be sufficiently eerie. KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS is a treat of a B-movie for genre fans and one of the more effective man-against-nature flicks out there.
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Horror Trash-Cult Movie
claudio_carvalho20 July 2012
In the countryside, after the death of the awarded calf of the farmer Walter Colby (Woody Strode), the veterinary Dr. Robert 'Rack' Hansen (William Shatner) sends blood samples to be analyzed by the University. A couple of days later, the scientist Dr. Diane Ashley (Tiffany Bolling) comes to the location and tells that the animal was bitten by spiders and killed by a massive dose of their venom. The skeptical Rack heads with Diane to Walter's farm and they find a huge spider nest in the field. Further, they find that the town is surrounded an enormous number of killer spiders and there is no way to run.

"Kingdom of the Spiders" is a horror trash-cult movie, with William Shatner in the lead role in a period that he was worshiped as Captain James T. Kirk of "Star Trek". The storyline follows the usual standard of this type of film (a murder; the discovery of the cause; the Mayor that wants to preserve his town for a big local fair; and so on). But the film is above the average of this type of film. In the end, it is worthwhile watching this entertaining film. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Império das Aranhas" ("The Kingdom of the Spiders")
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An ending like a painting
kosmasp21 November 2009
No pun intended btw with the summary line. And I'm sure not everyone will like the ending. But I think it's almost the only way to end this. William Shatner is really great in this and you can feel him, playing the ridiculousness of the script. There are even scenes, were he "fights" with Spiders, were you could be excused thinking this was directed by Mr. Ed Wood.

But of course this does has something to say and since the spiders were real (well at least most, maybe they a few plastic one thrown into the mix), this also feels real. Which must have been good and bad for the actors. Good because they didn't need a great motivation to act scared and bad ... because some actually must have been genuinely scared!

Having said that, the movie does not have a big budget (I even read this might have been initially made for TV, although I'm not sure if that's true) and the dialog is off quite a few times. If that doesn't matter much to you, you will get a really quite good, eerie and scary horror movie.
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Good Spider Fun
gavin69429 September 2013
Investigating the mysterious deaths of a number of farm animals, vet Rack Hansen (William Shatner) discovers that his town lies in the path of hoards of migrating tarantulas. Before he can take action, the streets are overrun by killer spiders, trapping a small group of towns folk in a remote hotel.

I am more than a little shocked this is not a Roger Corman film, as it seems to have been greatly inspired by his movies. This is just fun, hardly believable and not particularly scary. (Oddly, "Arachnophobia", which is a comedy, is probably scarier than this one.)

What had me wondering was the scene with spiders getting run over. Did spiders really get squished? And if yes, does that means animal violence in the movies is not inclusive of spiders? I found this strange.
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A genuinely creepy and superior 70's revolt-of-nature horror outing
Woodyanders1 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
After their original prey is killed off by insecticides, a bunch of lethal poisonous arachnids develop a serious case of the mankind munchies and start chowing down on the unsuspecting local yokel residents of the sleepy country hamlet of Verde, Arizona. Pitted against the deadly eight-legged little horrors are amiable veterinarian Rack Hansen (a surprisingly solid and subdued performance by the almighty William Shatner) and lovely, but feisty feminist entomologist Diane Ashley (superbly played by the alluring Tiffany Bolling of "The Candy Snatchers" and "The Centerfold Girls" fame). Tensely directed by John "Bud" Cardos (who also gave us the not half bad "The Dark" and the fine "Mutant"), with plenty of creepy atmosphere, a flavorsome country soundtrack, several truly flesh-crawling spider attack scenes (the whole sequence where the spiders attack the townspeople in mass volume is extremely potent and unnerving), sharp cinematography by John Arthur Morrill, one doozy of a startling shock twist bummer ending, well-drawn and likable characters, a spooky score by Dorsey Burnette, and solid acting from a sturdy cast that includes the ever-reliable Woody Strode, Lieux ("Grave of the Vampire") Dressler, and Hoke ("Humanoids from the Deep") Howell, "Kingdom of the Spiders" rates highly as a superior 70's killer animal fright flick.
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The Shat vs The Spiders.
BA_Harrison11 January 2014
I admit that spiders scare the bejeezus out of me and that I'd probably feel a whole lot happier if every last one of them were removed from existence; however, as so many ecological horrors of the '70s have clearly illustrated, meddling with the balance of nature isn't wise, and doing so can only make matters a whole lot worse. For example, in Kingdom of the Spiders, the use of chemicals such as DDT have resulted in an army of resilient, deadly and very hungry tarantulas, five times as venomous as normal and a whole lot more aggressive. They also seem to have become more intelligent, which isn't good news for the good folk of Camp Verde, Arizona, who the spiders have decided to add to their larder.

With a few thousand real tarantulas at his disposal, and a game cast more than willing to have the horrible creatures crawling all over their bodies for the sake of their art, director John 'Bud' Cardos delivers a B-movie horror guaranteed to have anyone with even the slightest case of arachnophobia squirming uncontrollably in their seats. Even if the idea of a dozen big-ass hairy spiders in the face doesn't faze you, there are plenty of other reasons to dig this fun drive-in flick: William 'Captain Kirk' Shatner as the hero, gorgeous Tiffany Bolling as his entomologist love interest, and cult actor Woody Strode as the token black guy guaranteed a horrible death; a hilarious scene in which the pilot of a biplane screams like a girl while tarantulas crawl on his head; a crazed steer brought to its knees by the spiders; and the entire town running amok as the creepy crawlies attack.

All that and a truly memorable final image make this a hugely enjoyable piece of drive-in entertainment.
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Spiders in the psychedelic decade...
paul_haakonsen14 August 2017
I found "Kingdom of the Spiders" by sheer luck while browsing through the horror section, and I do like creature features, so of course I gave this movie a go. I didn't know that the movie was just 2 years younger than me, nor did I know that William Shatner was starring in it.

I sat down to watch "Kingdom of the Spiders" without any expectations except than hoping to watch spiders. And I will say that the movie certainly did deliver on that account, because there was a lot of spiders throughout the movie. And it was nice to see all of these actual spiders (as well a fake ones, I am sure) make an appearance in this movie.

The movie was entertaining enough, taking into consideration that it was from 1977. And I am sure that it might have been somewhat of a gross and scary movie back in the day, given all the spiders. But by today's standards and expectations, then it was not among the most awesome of creature features. Actually, there was a lack of feeling a sense of danger from the spiders and their nest, especially since tarantulas are not all that deadly.

"Kingdom of the Spiders" actually had a rather good ensemble of acting talents, and it was sort of fun and interesting to watch William Shatner in a movie such as this. He did is quite alright, but it was just a deviance from what you usually see him in.

The ending of the movie was just hilarious with the painstakingly obvious model scale city built up and then covered with fake webbing. But again, it must have been impressive back in the day.
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I LOOOOOOOOVE this junk!
Coventry28 August 2005
Even the most avid fans of 70's kitsch-cinema will have difficulties defending this "Kingdom of the Spiders", as it basically is rubbish from start to finish! Immensely entertaining rubbish, though, with lousy but unscrupulous plotting and over-the-top action sequences that'll keep you amused unconditionally! Charismatic actor and professional cool dude William Shatner stars as the veterinarian of a little Arizona town that developed a BIG spider problem on short notice! Tarantulas have suddenly altered all their natural instincts and they're turning against the yummy cattle and – of course – the unknowing inhabitants of the little town. The female scientist Diane Ashley explains that this is due to the destroying of their normal food sources with pesticides etc, but it's too late... The extremely venomous spiders eat their way the town and really nothing can extinguish them! "Kingdom of the Spiders" actually is so damn entertaining because of its ineptness! The screenplay doesn't even bother to drag in theories about genetic mutation or military experiments gone wrong, like it usually is the case in this type of creature-features. The spiders are just furious at humans and eat them...period! Although very low-budgeted, some sequences are well-mounted and quite suspenseful. Especially the obligatory mass-hysteria scene in which the poor villagers get overrun by millions and millions of tarantulas is a fine example of trash-cinema. Director John "Bud" Cardos, previously an actor is dreadful drive-in horror movies himself, clearly had great fun making this good old-fashioned "Don't-mess-with-Mother-Nature" flick, so why shouldn't you! His enthusiasm even was so big he threw in a hilariously inappropriate country & western soundtrack! That's fabulous!!
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There's no escaping. Killer spiders!
michaelRokeefe4 November 2003
This skin-crawling thriller stars William Shatner as a veterinarian investigating the slaughter of numerous farm animals in a small Arizona town infested with eight-legged killers. An entomologist(Tiffany Bolling)arrives to lend help in stopping the crisis caused by the angry and hungry spiders. The town mayor(Roy Engel)refuses to quarantine with the big county fair ready to begin. Will the fuzzy arachnids stop with animals as their food supply? Also in the cast are:Woody Strode, Lieux Dressler and Shatner's then-wife, Marcy Lafferty. If you like this... try out EARTH vs SPIDER(1959). Is it my imagination these two movies seem the same? Definite cult classic.
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Kingdom of Spiders
Scarecrow-8811 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
A tarantula outbreak terrorizes Verde Valley, Arizona because the use of pesticides has killed off their insect food supply. We see how veterinarian William Shatner and scientist Tiffany Bolling respond, along with other citizens, when the spiders go on a rampage, attacking their prey, cocooning victims for later consumption.

Apocalyptic theme of "what happens when nature turns on mankind", with the humans moving down on the food chain, is utilized to perfection by director John 'Bud' Cardos in this terrific creature feature. Poor Woody Strode loses his prize cow, prize bull, dog, and, after believing he had burnt the bastards alive by setting fire to their hill, becomes a victim himself while driving down the highway. Easily one of William Shatner's best post-Star Trek(..pre-Star Trek movies)roles, and I'm guessing you can't ask for a better film to see at an old Drive-in. There's more spiders than you can shake a stick at and the scene where the town is in chaos with dead citizens lying cocooned in the middle of the street as locals trample each other with nowhere to run is truly horrifying. This one's a real skin-crawler, and as a chiller, it delivers the goods. This one sure gave me the willies, all these creepy crawlies moving about in droves as our trapped cast awaiting help that may never arrive, in a hunting lodge, surrounded outside by spiders, having a hard time keeping them from getting inside. The scene where Shatner has to go into a darkened basement to check the fusebox had me biting my nails to the quick! This is how you make 'em right here! Shocking ending. That Tiffany Bolling is a stunner. The scene where Shatner's sister-in-law gets engulfed by spiders trying to get her daughter to safety(..and several instances where the little girl almost becomes a victim herself)is potent stuff! The sheer amount of spiders is enough to assure you that the film is liable to keep you awake at night wondering if one is about to crawl inside your bed covers. I imagine after watching this, nightmares regarding spiders will haunt many a viewer.
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You are their prey!
Hey_Sweden3 July 2014
Top notch nature-on-the-rampage thriller takes its time getting started, but emerges a real grabber. It's extremely well directed (by John "Bud" Cardos), with lots of great animal action. It's solidly acted by a sturdy cast led by the almighty William Shatner. It builds to one hell of an intense "Night of the Living Dead" style climax, intercut with catastrophic scenes in the local town that makes one wonder how the characters can possibly hope to prevail. The onslaught of ferocious tarantulas is awe-inspiring.

The Shat, at his charismatic best, plays "Rack" Hansen, amiable small town veterinarian who calls in big city entomologist Diane Ashley (70s B movie hottie Tiffany Bolling) when faced with the death of rancher Walter Colby's (Woody Strode) prize calf. She realizes that the cause of death was injection of spider venom. Soon scores of tarantulas swarm through the desert, attacking humans and other larger life forms basically because the over use of DDT has eliminated the arachnids' normal food supply.

Shatner, Bolling, and the always excellent Strode are well supported by Lieux Dressler, David McLean, Natasha Ryan, Altovise Davis, Marcy Lafferty (Shatners' then-wife, playing his sister- in-law), Roy Engel, and Hoke Howell. The movie is nicely photographed by John Arthur Morrill on picturesque Arizona desert locations. The images of numerous extras covered with tarantulas - and webbing as well - is pretty chilling. There's a touch of "Jaws" in the screenplay by Richard Robinson and Alan Caillou in that the local mayor (Engel) doesn't want anything to hurt the success of the county fair going on. And the implications of that final shot are spooky.

A very fine movie of its type.

Eight out of 10.
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A very good B movie--nothing more
preppy-326 March 2010
In a remote Arizona town animals are dying mysteriously or disappearing all together. The town doctor (William Shatner) and an entomologist (Tiffany Bolling) discover spiders are attacking and killing animals...and people might be next. But why and how? The answer is pretty silly but i won't give it away.

This has been WAY overpraised by some horror fans. I hate spiders myself but this film didn't really work on me till the last half hour. The first hour has only one attack and is mostly talk and character development. What saves it from being very dull is that the dialogue isn't half bad, the characters ARE interesting and the acting is very good (Shatner and Bolling are excellent). The attacks kick in during the last half hour--THEN the movie works. They are quick and scary and these spiders appear everywhere! The sequence where the town is attacked is improbable (HOW did all those spiders get on people?) but has some really disturbing sequences of spiders crawling over dead people and spinning webs. The ending is chilling at first...but when you apply logic to any of this it falls apart.

OK--the spiders are attacking and are very aggressive but they also seem to be super intelligent and figure out where humans will be. They also appear in places that it would be impossible for them to be and seriously--think about that ending. Do YOU believe it? If you're terrified of spiders this will work but this is nothing more than a well-done B film. I give it a 7.
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"This is our home & no damn spiders are going to run us out." Funny 70's killer creature feature film.
poolandrews7 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Kingdom of the Spiders is set in Arizona where local vet Dr. Robert 'Rack' Hansen (William Shatner) gets a call from a rancher named Walter Colby (Woody Strode) who has a problem with one of his livestock, Rack gets there too late & the animal dies. Upon inspection by Diane Ashley (Tiffany Bolling) from the department of entomology from the Arizona state university it is discovered that the animal died from extremely potent spider venom, obviously Rack & the local authorities laugh that suggestion off but soon change their minds when various spider hills are found in the desert. These spider hills potentially contain thousands of these venomous & highly aggressive spiders & it seems they are heading straight for the local town of Camp Verde, that is unless Rack & Diane can save the day...

Directed by John 'Bud' Cardos Kingdom of the Spiders is one of those infamous cult classics which when finally viewed sort of disappoints but never-the-less I thought there was some merit to be found here. The script by Richard Robinson & Alan Caillou is pure 70's cheese, this is the kind of film where all the clichéd stereotypical locals constantly listen to horrible country & western music on their radios, the kind of small minded people who don't believe these big city folk & make some bizarre decisions like shooting their own fingers of with a gun because a spider is crawling over them & the kind of people who can't outrun a bunch of slow moving tarantula's which is what these creatures are & definitely not spiders as the title would have you believe. As with most of these nature gone bad films the main culprit is mans interference with nature, pollution, his stupidity, etc. & in that respect it was nothing new or original even back in '77. To give it credit where it's due it's good fun & there are some really funny moments in it, mostly unintentional it has to be said though. The first hour is what lets it down, it's rather slow & not that much really happens but once the spiders start to attack the human cast things take a turn for the better & it suddenly becomes very watchable with some crazy attack scenes. Then of course there's the ending where it finishes very abruptly almost as if they ran out of film, now I don't know about anyone else but having sat through 90 odd minutes of this & investing a lot of emotion particularly into the character of Rack I would actually quite liked to have know what happened to everyone! Just a thought.

Director Cardos does OK but it's hardly the most visually stylish film out there & I'm not convinced that real spiders weren't killed during the making of this, there's a scenes when a bunch of people stamp on some, a bit when a pot of hot water is thrown over some, a scene when a cop drives his car down a street crawling with the things (he must have squashed some) & generally speaking they don't seem to be treated that well which I have to say I do not agree with. The attack scenes are pretty funny as the spiders are just so slow & seem so uninterested in the human cast which they are supposed to be terrorising. Forget about any gore as there isn't any, I personally didn't find it scary but if you have a thing about spiders then it'll probably give you nightmares, forever.

With a supposed budget of about $500,000 with $50,000 of it apparently going on spiders it's reasonably well made in a 70's sort of way. William Shatner is pure gold in this & it's worth watching for his performance alone, I loved his outfit of tight jeans, pink shirt & cowboy hat! Everyone else does OK but Shatner steals the show.

Kingdom of the Spiders is a decent film, it's a lot of fun once it gets going unfortunately it takes a while to, get going that is. Definitely worth a watch if your after some light hearted horror.
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KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS (John "Bud" Cardos, 1977) ***
Bunuel197627 October 2007
This is certainly among the better of the monster animal cycle of the 1970s – its title probably derives from H.G. Wells' story "Empire Of The Ants", coincidentally brought to the screen that same year (and which I just watched last week). This viewing came by way of Goodtimes' open-matte DVD release – touted as being a "25th Anniversary Special Edition" but is, actually, an utterly bare-bones affair!

Anyway, the film's the main thing and it's a solid, old-fashioned (meaning enjoyable and unpretentious) genre entry – even if the casting of William Shatner in the central role lends it definite camp value! As was the case with many similar films of its era, the atomic implications redolent during the subgenre's 1950s heyday are largely jettisoned here in favor of an ecological concern which, if allowed to go out of hand and not looked after promptly, could bring an imbalance to our current system of life – with effects that would be just as devastating as any nuclear blast!

Interestingly, however, the narrative seems to be as much inspired by the recent success of JAWS (1975). The small town held in thrall by the spider 'invasion' is about to enter its most productive season; so the Mayor contrives to deal with the situation as quickly and with as little fuss as possible by having the crops in the entire area sprayed with insecticide. In the process, he completely disregards the warnings of an entomological expert called upon the scene who claims that, by doing so, he'll effectively be accentuating the problem and not solve it! Having made the latter a woman (and sexy B-movie starlet Tiffany Bolling at that!), it comes as no surprise at all that romance soon blossoms between her and town doctor Shatner (after overcoming the equally predictable initial animosity). These, however, are reasonably fleshed-out characters – so that one genuinely cares about their plight (in this respect, a love triangle element involving the widow of Shatner's brother and played by the actor's current spouse is subtly incorporated here). Woody Strode appears as the farmer whose property is first hit by the 'plague'.

Given the obvious low-budget afforded the production, visual and make-up effects are no more than modest – yet these extend to the corpses of the various human and animal victims, a plane explosion, and the mayhem caused by the spiders in the village center. The downbeat climax, then, sees the very last few survivors barricaded in the local tavern – capped by a great closing shot (which is alone worth the price of admission!). Unfortunately, the rental copy I watched was scratched – which resulted in minor freezing issues towards the end.
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I'm Not A Bad Person
view_and_review17 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This movie wasn't good but the spiders sure were. I could feel my skin crawl as hundreds of tarantulas crawled all over everything. Yikes.

They were all on the ground, all over animals, all over the people. I could feel a panic attack coming on just watching this movie.

Shatner played the town vet and hero, Rack Hansen. He was a bit of a playboy as he flirted with his dead brother's widow and the entomologist that came to town. The spiders did him a favor by killing one of the women in his love triangle.

This movie didn't even try to be good, just eerie. They succeeded in that department. I'm not a bad person, I just watch bad movies.
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Good "Nature Strikes Back" Thriller.
AaronCapenBanner31 August 2013
William Shatner("Star Trek") stars as a veterinarian in a desert community who, while investigating a series of mysterious animal deaths, and after he is helped by another expert(Tiffany Bolling) discovers to their horror that hordes of tarantulas are massing in the desert, and are about to strike back at humans, just in time for the annual town festival...

Story is old hat by now, but is expertly directed by John "Bud" Cardos, well-written and acted, with an effective music score(with cues taken from "The Twilight Zone") and a memorable ending that wraps things up, though leaves room for a possible sequel which hasn't happened yet...
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They do a good job of making the spiders look like they are overruning everything.
Aaron137521 April 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of those films that I saw as a child and then recently watched. I remember having mixed feelings about it and I can see why when I watch this horror film featuring spiders again. The main problem is the ending is very lame and one of those with no real resolution. There are also inconsistencies going on as far as how deadly this spiders are. It also seems like this film needed more starts other than Shatner, like one of those disaster films. Still, they do a very good job of making it seem like there are a lot of spiders on the attack!

The story has a man's prized calf taken out by something...okay, spiders. Not really a spoiler seeing as how that is the title of the film. Granted, after the spiders go all out in their attack people are literally questioning what is going on. Well a vet sends a sample of blood to some laboratory and soon a lady who is going to be the love interest comes back telling everyone the calf died of spider venom! It takes a while, but soon we get to watch the spiders overrun the town!

The main problem with the film, other than the ending, is the inconsistency with the spiders. They are so deadly people are dying left and right in town, yet Shatner's character gets bit several times with very little damage. Even after he is covered in them and he passes out, the next day he seems fine and dandy as he takes the boards off the windows to see that the entire town is covered in webs. Or at least he sees an artist's rendering of what that looks like.

So, the film is not all bad, but at times just a bit too silly. For one thing I don't think a tarantula's bite is going to be all that bad even if it were five times stronger, and they never explain why the venom is five times stronger. Tarantulas also are not really known for their webbing. One would also think all you need is a good pair of jeans and some big boots and just start doing some stomping! A woman literally shoots part of her hand off trying to get one, it's like squishing them is not an option! Still, it has its moments and is entertaining as far as the animals that attack films of this time period.
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Rampaging spiders in a seventies trash classic!
The_Void25 March 2007
Spiders are very much one of the 'horror animals' and Kingdom of the Spiders is clearly one of the best films to be based around them! Many people seem to have a phobia of spiders - personally, I love them; but I can certainly see why a lot of people find them creepy. This film makes best use of that fact, as while the spiders aren't monstrously over-sized, there is a lot of them - and it soon becomes clear how being overrun by spiders could lead to a very frightening situation! One of the things I liked best about this movie was the fact that it uses actual tarantulas! Many films featuring spiders use crappy looking fake ones, or in the case of more modern films - CGI, and it never works very well. The story is simple as you would expect, and focuses on a small country town. Cattle are dying mysteriously, and when a good looking female entomologist turns up; she quickly deduces that spiders are the problem. They're migrating in huge numbers after the loss of their food source, and this making them aggressive...

The film benefits from a nice country atmosphere, and to go along with this; we get a nice cheesy country soundtrack! William Shatner is the main star, and he delivers a nice performance which fits in with the tone of the movie. My main gripe with the film is the fact that not a great deal happens for the first hour. Don't get me wrong; this film is never actually boring, but it does feel like the spiders aren't posing all that much of a threat for a lot of the film. Kingdom of the Spiders takes obvious influence from classic creature features such as The Birds, in that it puts its focus on a small group of people amidst nature's attack. The characters really aren't all that interesting; but the spiders are the star of the show, so the characters themselves aren't all that important. The death scenes tend to be quite samey, but still they're effective; and the film does manage a handful of really suspenseful and somewhat harrowing scenes. The film is obviously pure trash throughout; but its enjoyable pure trash, and I have to see that this is one of the best films of its type that I've seen.
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crap, but my kind of crap
mm-3929 August 2002
Saw it years ago, and then recently on the space network. Watchable, but crap. William Shatner, been in alot of B movie, and is entertaining in this one also. If not for Shatner, this film would be forgotten. Give the guy credit for being the most famous Canadian, considering the scripts he has worked with over the years. 5/10
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Death Comes Crawling...
azathothpwiggins9 June 2020
William Shatner is Robert "Rack" Hanson in this crawly opus from Director John "Bud" Cardos. Rack is a veterinarian in a small town in Arizona where animals have been dying under mysterious circumstances. When it's discovered that spider venom is to blame, Rack is on the case and standing tall.

Enter beautiful entomologist, Diane Ashley (Tiffany Bolling), who joins forces with Rack after it's revealed that the venom is 5x stronger than normal! Can Rack and Diane stop these tarantulas of terror, before the town is overrun by the patter of a million fuzzy feet?

KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS has Shatner acting more restrained than usual, though he does come off as more of a cowboy than an animal doctor. This movie is one of the better "nature strikes back" films, and has a surprisingly grim finale...
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Not For Arachnophobes
Rainey-Dawn13 October 2021
Arachnophobes stay far away from watching this one - it's nightmare fuel for you!

I grew up watching this gem and haven't seen it since I was young. I found a copy, bought it and re-watched it. I have to say it's still a good film concerning spider; very much worth watching for horror fans.

BTW, you'll forget all about Captain Kirk and you'll see William Shatner the actor.

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Spiders, Man!
thesar-221 November 2009
When I was a kid, I remember vividly seeing all of the movie Kingdom of the Spiders, but to date, I only remember certain scenes. Also, I remember as a whole, it freaked me completely out.

Sure, I had and still have arachnophobia, so since most horror movies, especially the haunted house/ghost stories of late, don't scare me, I'll always turn to these (Eight Legged Freaks, for example) no matter how preposterous just to get a little (or a lot) frightened. The producers/writers/directors aren't stupid; they know what audience (ME) would be freaked out.

Yes, Kingdom of the Spiders is an absolute B-movie, but honestly, it wasn't all that bad. Of course we're given the typical corny explanation: insecticides have killed off all of the tarantulas normal meals, so they've mutated, tolerated each other (which apparently, they're quite anti-social) and now are moving on to larger prey. To me, a non-scientist/biologist/spider-doctor, that doesn't really make much sense: all prey is gone, so the population multiples a thousand fold? Get past that, and the fairly slow opening hour with Shatner doing his typical womanizing and you're in for a treat. I can see what scared me as a kid, when they finally revealed the little killers in masses.

Picture it: Camp Verde, AZ. Small (in this movie pintsize) western town. A prize cow dies somehow and owner is worried just about being "quarantined" by the town's vet doctor, Shatner. In comes a potential love interest all the way from Tempe (in reality, it would take probably 2-3 hours max to make the trip, but they make it seem like it's a trek (yeah, I had to toss a Shatner-term in) from NYC.) She's concerned about the 5x lethal venom from spiders.

Throw in some anti-pesticide speeches, and more animals die. I guess the tarantulas were too timid for humans, or they simply ran out of animals as they started with the livestock/pets first. Soon, the people are attacked and like all of the "When-Animals-Attack" films, a group of diverse survivors hold up in a cabin to wait out the onslaught.

Now, I've been to Camp Verde, not in 1977, per se. I actually arrived in AZ in 1981, but nevertheless, I've visited it, and it didn't look anything like the movie's version. In fact, I recall, in the early 80s that they had actual working phones, not 1920 phone props. Nevertheless, this obvious Jaws/The Birds-rip-off does have its effectiveness. And a seriously disturbing, open-ended finale. I loved the final shot.

Not for everyone, Kingdom of the Spiders is still recommended for those wanting a B-Movie scare out of those eight legged freaks. In reality, it's a helluva lot better than most spider-ambush movies made since.

(Side Note: I love the Stolen-Star Wars poster's tagline above a tortured man with a torch: "A Wild Science Fiction Nightmare." Let's dissect all that. It doesn't take place in space, nor is there any real war (the humans were no match for the tarantulas.) No one had a torch, though someone seriously tries to get away by shooting a gun. It's never really wild – if you see the town, the wildest thing that could happen some actually driving from Colorado for their annual fair. Science Fiction? OK, that one is where someone should draw the line and actually sue for false advertising, though George Lucas probably was prepped for the look of the poster. And finally, nightmare. OK, that one I would agree. You get even one of the 50,000 tarantulas used on me…Freddy would have enough ammo for my next three nightmares.)
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They should have let Shatner be Shatner
bensonmum24 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
William Shatner is Rack Hansen, a small town veterinarian investigating the mysterious deaths of local farm animals. The State sends scientist Dian Ashley (Tiffany Bolling) to assist and the pair soon determine that thousands of aggressive tarantulas are invading the town.

Kingdom of the Spiders has one of the best theme songs, Peaceful Verde Valley, I believe I've ever heard (please note the sarcasm). With lyrics like this - "Will tomorrow bring the love we need - To last for evermore? - Or could it bring the unknown - That we've never seen before?" - how can you go wrong?

Actually, Kingdom of the Spiders could have been a lot of fun had the decision been made to let Shatner be Shatner. Instead of the over-acting Shatner we all know and have come to love, he's much more subdued here and it really hurts the movie. Kingdom of the Spiders might have been good for a laugh or two had Shatner been allowed to chew the scenery as he's so good at doing.

As for the movie, it's pretty standard 70s Man Vs. Nature type stuff. No real surprises along the way and nothing to really stand out. A little more cheese would have really helped.
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